Huang Yong Ping’s Boundary-Pushing Installations: See Controversial Works by the Late Chinese-French Artist

Huang Yong Ping.

Huang Yong Ping.


The famed Chinese-French artist Huang Yong Ping died on Saturday at the age of 65. Huang was among the most important artists to emerge from China during the 1980s, and his impact on the country’s contemporary art scene has been immense.

Below, ARTnews has assembled a slideshow of important works by Huang. Among them is one of his most storied creations, The History of Chinese Painting and the History of Modern Western Art Washed in the Washing Machine for Two Minutes (1987), for which he placed a book about Chinese painting and another about the history of modern art in a washing machine and then exhibited their pulped pages. It’s an example of Huang’s interest in merging unlike cultures as a reflection of the world’s becoming increasingly global.

A number of works included below feature the use of live or taxidermy animals, and perhaps none has been more controversial than Theater of the World (1993), which exhibited insects and animals that prey on each other in a structure shaped like a tortoise shell. When the work was shown at the Guggenheim Museum in 2017, it appeared without animals following an outcry from activists.

Other works by Huang took on outsize proportions. His 13-foot-tall 2002 installation A Football Match of June 14 2002 refers to American interventions in Afghanistan, with soldiers playing soccer against Afghan women as warcraft and an oversize boulder threaten to annihilate them. When it was shown at the Punta della Dogana museum in Venice, collector François Pinault reportedly pleaded with Huang to buy it. It took years for Huang to agree.

A look at Huang’s provocative political work follows.

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